Saturday, July 20, 2013

Summer's First Backpacking Trip

The first backpacking trip for my daughter, not of the season--just to clarify. ;) I named her years before she was even conceived when I saw someone's name tag at a grocery store (I had never even heard the name Summer before) and thought, "if we ever have another kid, I want it to be a girl, and that will be her name." I hesitated though, when I actually got pregnant again. Our last name sounds like a vegetable, and Summer + vegetable last name= kids teasing. But I finally decided I just had to name her Summer; because it felt like destiny. 

Thankfully they didn't catch a fish with their homemade pole,
because we promised to eat it if they did!

I think I was so captivated by that name because who doesn't love summer? It's bright, happy, and fun; all the things I wanted my little girl to be. And she has lived up to her name, in spades. She is a true nature's child, which I love; except that she hates to wear shoes and takes them off whenever she gets the chance. (Losing them everywhere...I need to buy flip flops by the dozen.) 
Are you going to get in, or what?

This is how it's done, girls!
And my little Summer is no stranger to camping; we started taking her when she was just 10 months old. The thing is, although she loves to be outdoors, she would rather be doing something EXCITING (like wake-boarding with her Dad) and hiking did not fit the bill.
We love froggies, too

But recently she has been finally warming up to hiking, (even after our last hike when I ended up screaming at her and actually asked me if she could go on a backpacking trip with me. Hooray!--but where to go?

Someone got a hold of my camera

I wanted it to be amazing, of course, so she would fall in love and want to come all the time...but it couldn't be too hard, especially because she was bringing her friend who described herself as "not very active". Kids need a lake to swim in, and a fire pit to make smores. I finally decided that Barclay Lake was the perfect fit. 
loving our own little beach

Smores anyone? They are just a little crispy
Now that it is all said and done, I can say I don't think there could be a more perfect fit for a beginner than this hike; with one condition...go on a weekday. (which we did, and had the whole place to ourselves--like always) The girls plopped themselves down at the first campsite we came to and declared it the best. (after just 2 miles of hiking; you don't get easier than that) I usually have to scope all of the sites out before choosing, but this was their gig, so I didn't argue. (and wouldn't you know, they were right) 

The girls decided to put their tent in a secluded spot
over to the side. So grown up.

Trying to make pancakes on my mini stove sort of worked
I was a little bummed the weather never cleared that first day, as promised by the forecasters. But the next morning as the sun started breaking through, and the hordes started showing up, I realized just how lucky we were. And this was a Thursday I'm sure the weekends are complete madness.
The calm of foggy...

the chaos of sunny
When we were almost packed up, a huge group of teens showed up and asked if they could have our site. Debbie informed me later that it was a nature camp for kids who wouldn't normally be able to do that kind of stuff, and all the gear had been donated. Debbie had all this information because of course she had completely packed up hours earlier and was therefore able to gab; while I, on the other hand, was still frantically shoving everything in whatever pack it would fit into. Do you think she will ever rub off on me? (Unlikely)
Can you guess which pack is Debbie's?

A good friend wants to come even when
your bringing tweens. So, I love her even
with her OCD. ;)
Finally, just as we were leaving, Summer got to see just how exciting hiking could be when a base jumper landed on our beach. (turns out Mount Baring is one of the most popular places to do this--who knew?) 
A surprise guest
Unfortunately, we didn't get to see him land, but after packing up his gear he did plant himself by our fire pit and chat with us for a little while. This might have also been unfortunate, because after talking to him, Summer decided that clamoring up a mountain and then jumping off the top was just her kind of hiking! She may have the fearlessness of her father, but maybe she has his luck as well. One can only hope so. (to read about Ken's "luck", go to:
Mount Baring--want to jump?
I know someone who would go with you.
the season, and especially the girl


  1. Kelly, what a lovely story about Summer's first overnight hike with you. Regarding lost shoes, I think she must take after her Grandma Beane,I never can find my shoes when I need them. Drove Jay to the ER in my stocking feet when he cut his fingers. I am so fortunate to have such a lovely, lively granddaughter and such a lovely brave and bold daughter-in-law. Keep on hiking!! PS I am selecting anonymous because I don't know what to do with the others. I don't think you will have a hard time guessing who wrote this!

  2. Hi,
    Came to your post from the WTA site...great write-up about your trip. My husband and I are taking our kids, 11 and 9 years old, to Barclay Lake for their first backpacking trip this weekend. Like you, we do lots of hiking and car camping with our kids. We're hoping this first backpacking trip will be a positive experience, so they'll want to go again. Are bears a concern at Barclay Lake? Did you hang your food in a bear bag or keep it in a canister?

  3. We assumed that bears were no problem, considering it's such a well used place, but honestly I don't know. I invested in a bear bin because the other way...well, I could never get the hang of it. (what an awful pun;)) Bear bins are bulky, but they do make a nice chair. Anyway, I'm sure you all will have an awesome time!